Little Robot

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Little Robot Book Poster Image
Sweet, surprising story of friendship and courage.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Resourceful kid shows what can be done with a little mechanical know-how.

Positive Messages

Friendship transcends -- and can be strengthened by -- differences. It's normal to want to belong to something bigger than you. Our love for others can inspire us to bravery. Different friends share different interests, and we can make room for diverse relationships. Many problems can be fixed with curiosity, ingenuity, and a willingness to try.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Little girl takes a chance and forges a strong friendship. She patiently teaches the robot about the world and goes to great lengths to try to help him feel happy and at home with her. Characters are given second chances to be kinder.

Violence & Scariness

A menacing robot pursues its prey, consumes an animal, and leaves a trail of destruction; a chance encounter with a dead squirrel; arguments among friends.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know Little Robot is a graphic novel by Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl) that centers on a lonely, resourceful little girl and an equally lonely little robot. The young heroine is refreshingly unconventional: non-white, not very well-off, and brilliant with tools. A large, fearsome machine chases the robot and gobbles up a cat, and there's a scene where the robot pauses by a dead squirrel in the woods. Before she meets the robot, the little girl doesn't appear to have caring, attentive adults or friends in her life -- she seems wary of the grown-ups around her. There is very little dialogue in the book -- it's a lengthy but absorbing option for beginning readers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJanelle Brin April 3, 2016

colorful, adventurous and heroic

The story is adventurous while still dealing with really important issues that you can discuss with your child, making this a great SHARED FAMILY TEXT. Issues o... Continue reading
Kid, 7 years old May 8, 2020

A Beautiful and Great Friendship Book

This is a wonderful book. I read it all in one night! You should totally read it. If you were looking for a book full of exploration, friendship and exciteme... Continue reading

What's the story?

A young girl slips away from her home in a trailer park to explore a dumping area in the woods. She opens a trashed box and discovers a little robot. The girl helps him learn to get along in the world, from taking his first steps to understanding what it means to be alive. He's happy for her friendship, but he longs to find other creatures like him. Meanwhile, a large, menacing robot dispatched to find the lost worker bears down on them. He captures the robot and rumbles away with him. The little girl, armed with her tool kit, sets out to save him and their friendship.

Is it any good?

Loneliness and longing get lovely treatment in this nearly wordless book by Ben Hatke, who's created another gem of a heroine with the barefoot, nameless, wrench-wielding brown-skinned girl. She's the heart of LITTLE ROBOT, striking out on her own in pursuit of adventure and finding an unusual friend. 

There's little dialogue: Many pages pass without words, punctuated only by the "jonk" and "pling" of machines or the mewlings of a cat. Hatke packs in lively action sequences and ominous suspense but also takes advantage of opportunities to pause along the way: to soak up a sunset, feel the rumble of a passing train, or quietly observe a dead squirrel. The little girl's expressive face is an understated marvel -- guarded, joyful, soft and open, friendly, fierce. She's a charming flag-bearer for creative, independent spirits ... who make wonderful friends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the graphic novel format. Would you enjoy this story as much -- or more -- if it were a more traditional chapter book or a movie?

  • At the story's start, do you think the little girl is sad or content to be on her own?

  • How does this girl compare with other female characters in books you've read?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and diversity in fiction

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate